My name is Tatz, I was born in Durban, South Africa the night before a full moon moving from Scorpio into Sagittarius, in 1978. My parents, both married, but not to each other, a circumstance that created a rather challenging time for all involved, me born into the sacred woundedness of entrapment. My Mom’s marriage came to an end and she then remarried, to him who I would call Dad. I remember being happy as a young child, what I can actually remember of those times, I did well at school, I had friends, although the bullying would begin in my early years, outcast from playing games with some of the kids, a girl called Catherine would not allow me to play with the rest of them.
We lived in a big house next door to my Grandparents and my Aunt Iris who had a mental disability. She shared an outside bedroom with us that was both a toy-room and a TV room. One day Iris and I were in the toy-room, I had done something to boil her blood and bring her into an absolute rage, knowing better than to stay, I ran outside into the kitchen, closed and locked the door before she could get to me. She banged on the door, yelling for me to open it which, of course, I was most definitely not going to do, and then came the words that were to change the course of my life “Well your father is NOT your father!” I was nine years old. With Iris locked out of the main house and nobody else at home, I walked down the long passageway, to my parent’s bedroom right down at the end. I went to my dad’s side of the bed and opened first his top drawer, then the second drawer, there it was … the truth. A little grey identity book, I opened it up and written glaringly on the first page was my name and it was not the name that I knew myself as. This man was not my real father. I closed that little book, placed it back exactly where I found it, closed the drawer and walked out of my parent’s room. I cannot tell you what I did after that moment, because it is no longer in my memory, but I can tell you that it was a secret I held for years to come.
My mom opened a business doing massage and she began to work longer and longer hours, until eventually she rented a flat in the city so she could work late and get up early to go to gym and to work. My dad came home at night and looked after my little sister and me. This is when it began, when he would come into my bedroom at night and slowly but surely begin touching me. This would continue for years to come and my young body and mind confused, shamed, angry and guilt ridden. It was all my fault I thought, I was bad and shameful. My school work began to deteriorate and I went from being in the “A” class dropping down each year until I was eventually in the “D” class with all the naughty kids in the school who did not get good grades. My behaviours would also start becoming more sexualised as my young mind associated this with love and over the years I gave away my body in exchange for love.
School bullying would also begin to worsen, and I was incredibly sensitive, I would cry easily. The kids at school would start calling me “Flood the nation” from a line in a song that we sang in assembly. I hung out with the “cool kids” but when they didn’t want you around anymore, they would run away from you at break times. At first, I would run after them, until I stopped. I would go and sit on the bank overlooking the beach and be by myself instead. This is when I made friends with more boys than girls. Girls were bitches and I couldn’t trust them.
When I was still in the fold, I was writing letters to one of the girls, I had told her about what was happening at home. One day, I came home, and my mom called me outside to the pool, she wanted to talk to me. She pulled out a piece of paper, it was one of these letters, in this moment I knew that she knew the truth. I remember my dad coming out to the pool area to ask what we wanted for dinner and my mother screamed at him. I was crying, she was screaming and the next memory I have we were inside in their bedroom, my father was taking out his gun and said he was going to go and shoot himself. My little sister came into the room and asked what was going on, to this day I will never forget his words “Nothing, I just put my fingers inside Taryn’s fanny.”
The days following this are a blur. I remember my mom taking me to the beach and asking me what happened, but I couldn’t talk to her, I couldn’t tell her. I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, I felt as if it were all my fault and I was to blame and somehow, it all seemed to simply disappear. As if nothing had ever happened, life for everyone in my family, went on as usual. The downward spiral for me continued. I began to rebel, everything that my mom told me not to do I did, and I did it properly. I began to fester in a deep-seated anger that was rooted in emotions and feelings that I had no way of understanding how to deal with and there was nobody helping me, nobody supporting me, I felt as if I had disappeared and was no longer seen by those that were supposed to love me.
My schoolwork deteriorated even more, and the principal was going to keep me back the year, but I was pushed through on condition that I get sent to boarding school. I spent about a term and a half at boarding school before begging my mom to bring me home again, as I hated hostel life. This was an interesting time for me though, I made an amazing friend, I was accepted and well-liked and was no longer bullied. My confidence grew and I began to feel “strong” in some way. I left boarding school and entered Amanzimtoti High School. There were a whole lot of new kids from other schools, I was a different person now too, no longer so weak and sensitive. I had found a confidence born out of anger and I would no longer stand for being bullied. In high school I found my fists and I was not afraid to use them; I would rather have people be scared of me and leave me alone than be seen as the weak girl who they could bully.
I remember standing on the other side of the kitchen door and hearing my father in the kitchen with my brother and his friend, talking about me, putting me down. This happened so often, I would stand there listening on the other side of a door and hear my name spoken of with so much disdain, from my very own family. I would lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep so many nights, then get up the next day and put on my brave strong face, and all the while the anger inside of me taking root in my soul. I remember studying one night and my father walked into my room, “What are you doing?” he asked, “Studying.” “Why bother you’re going to fail anyway,” he said. On and on, spiralling further and further down. Smoking, drinking, numb the pain.
Somewhere along this journey, I disappeared from home one Friday afternoon. No word to anyone, I had had enough. I was also incredibly sick with tonsillitis, but the boyfriend I was staying at was friends with our local pharmacist who brought me anti-biotics. I stayed away the whole weekend and waited on Monday morning till a time that I knew my parents would leave for work before going back home to get my school stuff and go to school. I arrived back home, but my parents were there, they had contacted the school to say that I had been missing. Who knows what was said, I certainly didn’t care and don’t remember? I got dressed, got my school things and was taken to school. That day I was called down to the office, a counsellor had been brought in to speak to me. I told her everything, about the sexual abuse, everything. The school contacted my parents to tell them about the accusations, and that night at home I was told to go back and tell them that I was lying. So, I did exactly that. The next day I was once again called out of class and to the office to see the counsellor. “My parents told me to tell you that I am lying.” And somehow, that was the end of that. Nothing came of it and I was once again left to my own devices.
Fourteen years old, my father and I were fighting, and it was in this moment that I screamed at him “You cannot tell me what to do, you’re not my father!” It was out. I had carried this knowledge from 9 years old, through all of what went on and not until this moment did anyone know that I knew this truth. From here I would exclude myself from family holidays and outings. I had long been wondering about my real father, my mom had shown me the only picture that she had of him. I was a baby and he held me in his arms. I wondered about him, wrote poetry about him and everything else in my life, (which I still have to this day). I dreamed of a different life, one where I was loved, where my real father was there and how things would be so much better. I had spoken to my mom and told her that I wanted to find him. She reminded me of a place I had gone to a few years back with my Aunt, this was where I needed to go, those people that I met were my dad’s wife’s parents. Strangely, I actually remembered where they lived, I remembered a visit that happened when I was about 11 years old and I was now fifteen, almost sixteen years old. I went to see them. I told them that I wanted to meet my dad. They told me that he had gone back to Australia. My heart sank. I stayed with them for two or three hours talking and looking at pictures of this man that I longed for in my life. I saw pictures of his son, my brother, and a whole other side of myself opened up into reality. By the end of my visit, they told me that he was still in South Africa, that they lied only to protect their family. You see, my dad was, and still is, married to his first wife. I went home that day with something new inside of my heart, hope.
I wrote a letter after that visit, to these lovely people that had shared stories with me about a whole other family that I had, and with this letter I wrote a letter to my father and sent it to them. As I have been told, they were having a family get together and my dad was called aside, told of my visit and given my letter. It was a Friday afternoon; I was home from school and excited for the weekend. The phone rang and I ran down the passage to answer it in expectation of a call from a friend to make plans for the weekend.
“Hello, can I speak to Taryn please?”
“This is Taryn,” I said feeling confused.
“Hi Taryn, this is your father.”
“Oh! Um, oh, I don’t know what to say.”
I don’t recall the rest of the conversation, but I will never forget the first words we ever spoke to each other. We arranged for him to pick me up the following week after school, he would be driving a white bakkie, (South African term for a ute). The day came that I was going to meet my father for the very first time, I was almost sixteen years old. That day I waited after school, nervous and excited, for my dad to arrive. Time went on and slowly all the other kids disappeared as they were collected, got on the bus or walked home and eventually I sat there on my own, wondering if he was ever going to come. The excitement began to give way to disappointment and hurt as I sat there beginning to feel let down yet again. I cannot remember if I was alone or if there were a few kids still hanging around, but I do remember the sound of a car coming down the road. I looked up, it was a white bakkie, and in that moment I think my heart must’ve skipped a beat or two as my father drove down the road towards me. We drove to the beach and parked in the carpark looking at the ocean as we spoke and got to know each other. The time came when he had to leave, and he dropped me back at home. We arranged for our next visit and I could not have been happier, I had my very own dad.
One morning, my mother came into my room and she was screaming at me, her finger pointing into my face and, without even thinking about it, I pushed her hand down. This made her angrier and she did it again, I pushed it down. I remember her pushing me and then throwing me onto my bed and I kicked and kept on kicking so she could not get to me, landing one solidly in her stomach. She left then. I got dressed for school and that day I spoke to a friend who contacted her mother and that afternoon I went home, packed my things and moved out. My dad and I had a few visits by then already. I became sick again with tonsillitis and my friend’s mom called my grandparents because I really needed to go to the doctor. She was on the phone with my grandmother when she heard in the background my grandfather saying, “Is that that little bitch Taryn?” It was after this that she told me to call my dad, to also tell him everything about my life and what had happened to me. He came to visit me at my friend’s house, and we sat in my bedroom talking, I told him everything.
My sixteenth birthday came around and my mom took me shopping for my birthday, she had worked hard and amassed herself a fortune and throughout our lives we never wanted for anything material. It was then that my Mom asked me to move back home and to make friends with my father again. I did, I returned to my parent’s house. My mom was also unwell with cancer and I don’t particularly remember if it was at this time exactly, or after, but there was a day when my stepdad was out cleaning the pool and I went to him, “Dad, I’m sorry for being such a bitch of a daughter,” I said. To which his response was, “Don’t apologise to me, apologise to your mother, because if she dies of cancer it is your fault.” I walked away. It was not long after this that I was to leave once again, staying as far away from him as I could. I didn’t speak to him for almost two years this time. During this time I drank, partied and had begun taking drugs. My real father and his wife had left South Africa and moved to Australia about eight or nine months after we first met. He had wanted me to go with, but I did not want to, his wife hated me.
Something happened a little before my eighteenth birthday and we made friends again. While I usually went shopping with my mom for my birthday, this time I went with my stepdad and we had a great day. Just over a month later he would spend a day in the car waiting for my mom to finish work. I went to see him to get some money for food and told him he should go to the doctor. This would be my last conversation with him. My mom cancelled some evening appointments because she knew he was sick. He picked her up, drove the thirty-odd minutes from town to our home, parked the car in the garage and slumped over the steering wheel. I got a phone call from my sister “Tatty come home, dads on the ground and he’s turning blue.” I was just around the corner and rushed home. There he was on the ground; the ambulance was there, and they were trying to revive him. He spent the next week on life-support machines, I visited him and spoke to him as much as I could. His brain was damaged, and the choice needed to be made, the machines were going to be turned off. I went to see him that day and said my goodbyes, my heart broken, for you see, no matter what had happened I still loved him, I still loved all of them and all I had ever wanted was to be loved by them. I forgave this man, who was still dad, and just when I had forgiven him, just when we had come back into a new relationship, he was gone. The day of his funeral I stood before the crowd gathered at the cemetery, I wrote a letter to this being that was such a perpetrator of my pain, and I spoke to him, I spoke to him of all the happy memories, of playfulness and laughter, of joy and of love. The rest … no longer mattered, this was one of my first initiations into true forgiveness.
My drug and alcohol spiral would gradually get worse as life became all about the next party. I was nineteen when I landed in hospital after taking an ecstasy pill for the third time. The drugs before that was only acid. I spent a week in the psychiatric ward pumped up on anti-depressants yearning to just go home. I remember sitting talking to a guy who was bandaged on both his arms, he told me a story of suffering and how he had tried to kill himself. I could feel his pain, because the thoughts of suicide had often visited me over the years, but I had never quite gotten to the actual point of doing it. Drugs and alcohol continued over the years ahead and I was twenty-five when I first cut my wrist.
At this point in time my little sister and I lived together in a townhouse, we had a friend who had started supplying drugs, we knew all the coolest dj’s in town and our space became the place of the perpetual party. I was waitressing just up the road, doing drugs at work, after work and we were out every night of the week. Life was fun, exciting and I lived to party. One day my boyfriend at the time and a friend that also lived with us were having a conversation and a statement was made about people that were sexually abused and how some of them probably asked for it. I was drunk and became extremely emotional. How dare they say that! They had no idea and all the guilt, shame and anger from my younger years came flooding over me. I locked myself in my bedroom, crying in the deepest despair I have ever felt. I accidentally knocked something from my windowsill which smashed the glass top of my dressing table, I picked up a sharp shard and began stabbing into and slicing my arm. Blood began to pour out of me, and I looked down at the open cuts in my arm realising what I had done. One of our friends was knocking at my door to be let in, I opened the door tears staining my face, my arm red with the blood of my angst. I was taken to the hospital and received stitches in my arm. I spent the next days sunken into sadness. I would do this again a time later but not quite as fervently as the first time. For ten years I wore bangles on my arm to cover those scars until one day I went and covered them with a tattoo of hope, freedom and transformation.
After the first time my mom was going to send me to a psychologist, but my sister encouraged her to rather put me on these workshops that she had done. This would be the beginning of my path of healing and finally receiving the help that I had needed for so long in my life. I embarked on a journey of self-discovery with Stephen and Kathleen Norval on The Human Touch, The Rose, The Power of Love, Heaven on Earth and Living Truly. These teachings changed and shifted something in me and to this day are the foundation upon which I teach.
I would eventually get married and move to Australia for a month and then over to New Zealand where my marriage would ultimately collapse. I returned to Australia and met someone else who was my stepping-stone out of my marriage. However, this stepping-stone would be mentally and emotionally abusive, and I slowly but surely handed over my power to this person as I became a shadow of my free-spirited self. One night he threw me to the floor and stood over me with his fists clenched “I could just fuck you up right now!” I remember lying there, looking up at this man who I thought loved me and thinking to myself that this was it, I was about to get beaten. Thankfully, something was looking after me in that moment and he left me alone. I stayed in this relationship for some time after that, getting yelled at and screamed at for the only reason of him being drunk. The relationship eventually went through a long drawn out break-up where I lost 13kg’s and was hospitalised and fed intravenously. I could not eat, everything I ate came back up. I started drinking meal replacement shakes, those too just came up. I went down to 48kg’s, I had weighed that when I was a young teenager.
One day I went to work, and my boss asked me if I was okay, I broke down completely. I had kept all this to myself because he and I worked together, all our friends were work friends. It was that day that I first changed my mind about the relationship and ultimately everything in my life. I was no longer going to be a victim. I was no longer going to be a survivor. I was going to stand up, step up and show up for myself in my life. I felt myself shift into a warrior woman, a woman of power and strength, an untamed wild woman who would not wallow in suffering anymore. That day was the first day of the rest of my life.
Eight months later I met my current partner, in the first couple of years we struggled as I had to get used to having my freedom again when in relationship with another. We would argue because I would drive home after having drinks with friends in fear that I would be in trouble if I did not come home. It took a little while to realise that this relationship was different, that I did not need to be afraid. I began a mentorship with my teacher Kathleen, and I began to fully immerse myself into the journey of healing and transformation. My partner encouraged me to study something that I was interested in as I had spent twenty-three years working in hospitality and was at the point where I hated it. I enrolled in a Diploma in Counselling, continued my mentorship with Kathleen, volunteered at our local women’s centre, did as many trainings as I could, read books about spiritual enlightenment, about neuroscience, about process-oriented psychology and I haven’t stopped.
My work is born out of my passion to serve humanity, to offer support and facilitate the space for healing in others, to give to those in need of help, all that I needed in my younger years. I have created the Sacred Wound session out of my third session with my very first client, written and facilitated workshops with people between the age of eighteen and seventy-four years old. I achieved my Diploma in Counselling, HeartMath® Mentor Training, Positive Parenting Practitioner Training, and a host of other professional development trainings. I continue studying and am currently enrolled in an Undergraduate in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy with the Metavision Institute. I have recently completed Making Your Mind Matter Online Course with Dr Joe Dispenza and Chakra Dance Facilitator Training.
I have spent the last years consciously becoming aware of and observing my patterns and behaviours, breaking the cycle of pain and suffering and stepping into an entirely new paradigm of being. As I wrote these pages I felt the emotion of the past, the pain of the story that has shaped me into the person that I am today and in this writing I acknowledge every single person that has come into my life to deliver the hardest teachings. It is from this that I am able to do the work that I do, to offer guidance and support, to open the space for healing for others, because I know suffering.
Above all that I acknowledge my own self and my dedication to healing those trauma’s, for travelling a hard road to find the place of peace in my life and am so grateful for every moment, every person, every circumstance that brought me suffering and brought me joy and the ever-present offering to find myself, in the midst of all that is.
Love and Blessings